I picked up a used copy of VERDURA: Vegetables Italian Style by Viana La Place after reading multiple posts on Chowhound about how great the recipes are. I’m quite glad I did. I’ve mostly been making the salads but there are lots of pastas, soups, antipasti and even main dish recipes as well. This Russian Salad caught my eye because of the capers. In addition to making a great salad, this also makes a good sandwich filling according to La Place. I didn’t get a chance to try that idea out as we ate the salad all up fairly quickly.
The first time I made this I used red beets rather than her golden ones, canned green beans and wax beans, left out the anchovies and just mixed lemon juice into store-bought mayonnaise rather following her recipe for homemade lemon mayonnaise–and it was still delicious!
Russian Salad (Insalata Russa) from Verdura
- 3 small beets, tops trimmed down to 1″
- 2 potatoes
- 1/4 pound green beans
- 1/4 pound wax beans
- 2 small carrots, trimmed and peeled
- 2 Tablespoons minced cornichons
- 3 Tablespoons capers
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil
- 2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
- salt and pepper to taste
- lemon juice
- 3-4 anchovies, finely chopped optional
- Separately boil the beets and potatoes until tender. Drain and cool, then peel.
- In separate pots, cook the green beans, wax beans and carrots in salted water until tender, then drain.
- Dice the cooked vegetables. You want fairly small pieces.
- Add the cornichons, capers, olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper.
- Estimate how much mayonnaise you’ll need to bind the vegetables together and mix some lemon juice into the mayonnaise, then stir this into the vegetables.
Edited to add: I’ve made this so many times now I’ve lost count. The color changes depending on which color beets you use, of course. And it is much better with fresh beans rather than canned but it’s good either way.
Edited to add that this has become a family favorite and I’ve made it multiple times, sometimes with canned beans rather than fresh in a pinch. Always a hit!